Review; This House, Norwich Theatre Royal
Theatre Royal Norwich
Politics has always provided a rich hunting ground for TV and theatrical productions - who could resist Yes Minister – and this National Theatre play takes a fairly cynical yet amusing look at our Parliamentary system - warts and all.
It takes you back to 1974 and the hung Parliament, when Labour clung to power until a certain MP for Finchley arrived. Much of the action centres on the Whips’ offices, both Tory and Labour, and the daily struggles they had to keep their MPs in order and how quickly you can be booted out.
It’s hard to imagine that any of it was ever remotely true - MPs being wheeled into The House when seriously ill, the back biting, the deals and counter deals - no wonder very little was achieved: they were too busy trying to dodge those votes of ‘no confidence’ to do any actual decision making.
The writer, James Graham, stresses that the show is a work of fiction reflection of the times but there are incidents included that we all remember, including Michael Heseltine swinging the mace around The House, and John Stonehouse faking his own death, and this helps to blur our perspectives of what is true and what is not.
It’s a fascinating insight into just how far we have come in British politics but when you see some of today’s shenanigans on telly, the name calling and heckling and more, you do wonder!
The play continues until Saturday. Visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk